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Dallas Museum Of Art And Italy Work Together To Return Looted Art

Dallas Museum of Art
A set of art objects from a 5th-century B.C. burial site in Spina, Italy, which have never previously been displayed or loaned, will go on view at the Dallas Museum of Art starting Friday.

Last year, the Dallas Museum of Art agreedto return six antiquities that were looted illegally from Italy years ago.

The objects included three kraters (large vases for mixing wine and water) as well as bronze shields — but they remain on display at the DMA as part of an ongoing partnership with Italian authorities.

On Friday, the DMA will display a set of 5th century B.C. objects from the ancient Etruscan city of Spina — on a long-term loan from Italy.

The transfer marks the “official signing of a memorandum of understanding” about continued collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture, a DMA news release said.

The artworks, including a 5th century B.C. silver fibula (safety pin or brooch), four Attic red-figure vases and an alabaster vessel, come from a grave in Spina discovered in 1926 — and this is the first time they’ve been loaned or put on display. This is all part of DMX, the museum’s cultural exchange program.

KERA's Art&Seek has more details.

While the DMA agreed to return the art last year, Italy's culture ministry announced the agreement Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

The ministry's press office said that unlike past negotiations with U.S. museums, which involved threatened or real legal action to recover looted antiquities, Dallas museum director Maxwell Anderson spontaneously offered to return the items after the museum couldn't determine their provenance.

Italy launched an aggressive campaign a decade ago to retrieve looted artifacts. Its most famous recovery is the Euphronios Krater from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Last year, the Dallas museum announced that it was returning a work of art to Turkey that was looted from the country. The museum had purchased the Orpheus Mosaic in 1999 at a public auction.

We've compiled this story based on KERA News reports and The Associated Press.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.